Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas At Home

This year we are hosting a portable worship experience at Christ Community Church in Hopkinsville, KY.

We have moved our Sunday Dec 25th service to Friday Dec. 23rd at 6:30

Below is a short video that has some additional details.  We are located at 425 Millbrooke Drive and would love to have you and your family join us this holiday season.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Asking The Wrong Question

As I pray and search for creative ways to infuse vision into the church, I've done a lot of research on the question, "what is the church?"

I think that is a good question.

If you go on youtube or blogs or any social network you can find quite a bit of different views to the question, what is the church? Everything from: street interviews with public opinion, pastors explanation, creative animations of explanation and so on.
There are a lot of thoughts around this topic.  Rightfully so, I mean both sides of the issue have plenty of scripture to back up their views, so much so, that it can quickly become a debate.

And that's where a good question quickly becomes bad.

It's bad to create division, strife, debate over what the church is, who the church is for, what the church should look like, and who it's not for.  (like I said, a lot of views out there)
Perhaps we have these strong feelings about church because on one side non-believers (as well as some believers) have a very negative view of the church.  Then on the other side there are very strong and positive views  of the church.  Thus the debate.
See if you ask most people, "what is the church?' They will respond correctly, "it's the people who follow Christ."  True?  Then if you point at a building and ask, "what is that?" They will answer, "a church."
Very confusing eh?  The church is the people not the building, yet we meet in a building and call it a church.  Back and forth we go! (sorry, forgive me for being factitious....but I think you see what I'm getting at.)  Which by the way let me add.  I believe Christians should  faithfully gather together in large venues as the church in a church. ;)

So, here is my thought.  Maybe we have all these different feelings about the church because we've spent so much time asking the wrong question.  Perhaps instead of asking "what is the church?" we should ask "what is our life about?"

Did you get that?   As believers (who are the church) when we come together in a church (place where we gather) we should ask the question, "what are our lives all about?
The answer?

Life is about God and His Kingdom.

If we truly understood that concept then we lose the tags of a church being seeker sensitive, traditional, transformational, emergent, modern, and countless others.  We would not argue about the programs, strategies, and order of service line up.  We would not leave the church because of personal preference dislikes or offense and hurt.  Instead we'd exercise the very things that makes us a church without spot or wrinkle, things like unity, love, long-suffering, patience, kindness, perseverance and so on.

When I read what Christ says the Kingdom of God is like, then I see what God is like.  When I pay attention to what God is like, I learn what He likes.
The church is us and in that we tend to bring a very US mindset in how we think it should be done.  But if we live with a mindset that we are about His Kingdom then church will be different because we will be different.

It's not about asking "what is the church?" It's about asking "what is His Kingdom all about?"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Release of the Sling Shot

In August of 08 I started traveling full-time ministering and encouraging churches, stateside and abroad.  This new start in ministry came because of some other new beginning's end.

I've known our end result would be to Pastor a church and during these last three years I've felt very much like a rock in a sling shot.  I see the target, but no matter how much I aim to hit it, it would appear instead of moving forward I'm being pulled back, pulled back, and pulled back.

See during this time of traveling and speaking, I've also been doing quite a bit of learning; gleaning from pastors who've been in ministry and have been around the block.  I've attended church-planting meetings and conferences to try to learn and grow as much as I can.  What I've learned has helped me develop and formulate some ideas concerning church planting and church revitalization.  I've posted previously on here about those thoughts.

As I've traveled I've discovered my passion is to see the church grow and excel in what God has called it to do.  I find myself coming alive when getting to speak to leadership about church growth principles and strategies, all the while I've explored every possible door when it comes to pastoring.  Please understand when I say every door, I mean every door!  I won't go into every detail, but I will add this.....while exploring every door that has appeared to open I have not felt it was ever an option to "go and do my own thing."  I have a high conviction when it comes to authority and have listened and taken the advice of those over me even to the point when it's caused heartache.  In fact, that's the true test to see if one is in submission---submitting when you disagree. (okay, off my soapbox)

Back at the first of February we were contacted by an pastor in KY who was wanting to retire toward the end of the year and he wanted to transition the church to a young minister. He's an old friend of my wife's dad's and had contacted him, which Dale in turn put him in touch with me. At the time we were in the midst of a (long) process with a church in Joplin (one of the many doors I mentioned above) and told the pastor that we felt like we should see that process through, but expressed our desire to come and speak for the church in KY and meet the leadership.  So we scheduled a date in April and at the same time the church in Joplin didn't work out.  (Keep in mind, this was BEFORE any tornado touched-down in Joplin....something to think about!).

The KY pastor had said that he would like to retire at the end of the year, with the transition happening right around then as well. We confirmed those date before renting this current house, because we had to sign a 1-year lease on it and didn't want to lose a lot of money.

So we went on Palm Sunday to Hopkinsville, KY. It's a small church. They went through a rough time about 11-12 years ago and this current pastor has been there for 11 years now and has really focused on healing up the people. And he's done a wonderful job of that, he's a very good man!  They have a wonderful, debt-free facility located in a great neighborhood right beside an elementary school.  Hopkinsville is just 20 minutes from Clarksville, TN where Fort Campbell is also.  So you can see there are many great out-reach and ministry opportunities there.

That Palm Sunday weekend we met with their elders and wives and the pastor and his wife to just get to know each other a bit and let them ask us some questions and we asked them some as well.  It was a great meeting and neither of us saw any red flags.  That Sunday morning service went very well and the people were very welcoming.

Oh~and did I mention that the pastor would actually like to retire at the end of August?!   So that meant we needed to talk with our landlords about our contract and just let them know that we may be moving soon.   Well, what happened was nothing short of a miracle!   We'd had a lawyer friend look at our contract to see if there were any loop holes, but he said there were none and we would just be at their mercy, meaning we may still owe them all the rent from the time we move until our contract is up at the end of next March.   Which wasn't good news.  But when we talked with the owner, she was totally understanding.  It turns out her dad had also been in ministry and she understood the need to move quickly sometimes and they completely released us from our contract, just asking that we give them a 30-day notice and allow them to show the house should they put it back on the market while we're still in it.  Talk about relief!  To be released from that contract was SUCH a blessing!  This is where I truly believe God is taking care of things behind the scenes.
After that I began to talk regularly on the phone with the pastor, who is just incredibly excited and really believes we are the young couple to transition the church.

The first weekend in June I went back and met with the elders and deacon and wives and also the pastor and his wife again for some more getting-to-know-each-other type talk.  I spoke on Sunday morning and then that evening the church held a special Q&A session with me.  Lora wasn't able to go that weekend, but it went very well and I came away very excited.  All that to say....


Also last week we made a quick overnight trip to Hopkinsville to look at homes.  There is a young realtor in the church who is helping us.  We did find one that we REALLY like and we went ahead (in faith!) and made an offer on it this weekend.  We shot a bit low, but hoped to negotiate a good price.  Well, we just got their counter offer back this past hour and it right at the amount we were willing to go up to!  So we are accepting their counter offer~can't wait to be homeowners again!!

And that's the Big News! After feeling like a rock in a sling being pulled back, we are now being released!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Communications of Jesus

Technology is great, especially when it works.  One of the great things we have at our disposal is the ability to pass information from books, sermons, or quotes to hundreds; if not thousands of people in an instant.
One subject I've noticed that can cause quite a stir in the Twitter, Facebook and Blogger circuit is when postings are made about the church.
Honestly, to me the subject of  The Church can be one of the most confusing topics out there.  I've heard pastors spend 30 minutes in their message talking about how the church is not a building but a people united for Jesus then spend the other 30 minutes encouraging people to be faithful to the building. (haha)

Let me say, I LOVE the Church and it's certainly a topic that can push my buttons. I've grown up in church, I've been hurt by the church, I've been loved by the church, I've attended church planting meetings and met with countless pastors on the subject of "The Church."  With that said, allow me to set a little bit of context;  I know it's human nature to quickly run to either side of the ditch when it comes to any subject.  Righteousness and grace, legalism and freedom, Jesus and church, rebellion and religious and so on.  But what we need to remember, regardless of what side of the ditch we end up on concerning an issue... it's still a ditch.
When it comes to statements like, "I love Jesus just not the church"  or "Jesus would spend more time chasing after the one rather than the other ninety-nine" or even "Jesus wouldn't be in the church today" is my concern to what audience in which these statements are made.  The truth is some people hear these statements and lock on to them as the "gospel" when they are nothing more than simple statements made to "relate" or "sympathize" with a generation who doesn't understand the church. Pastor Timothy Keller said it best in his book, The Prodigal God, "The concept of one loving Jesus but not liking the church is just another way to to hide in self deception"

Perhaps if we understood how Jesus communicated, then we'd be more mindful of what we communicate.  Here are five levels of communication we see Jesus use.
1.) The Multitudes:  Jesus taught them in story form and never explained His messages to them.  He knew the multitudes had come for one primary reason: to find answers for their personal needs.  Jesus didn't give assignments to the multitudes.  Jesus didn't try to disciple the multitudes.  Jesus didn't try to develop personal relationships with the multitudes.  Jesus simply challenged the masses to make greater spiritual commitments.
2.) The 70 Associates:  Jesus chose seventy to go before Him announcing His arrival. Jesus didn't attempt to disciple the seventy, he gave them personal assignments but did not enter into personal relationships with them.  We don't know any of their names, just their number.
3.) The 12 Disciples:  Jesus chose these twelve men personally; each of them is named and identified.  We know more about them than we know about the multitudes or the seventy. This is where Jesus spent the majority of His ministry.  Their learning session were in natural environments.  They walked, talked, ate together, they asked Jesus questions and He responded.  He explained His stories to them in detail.
4.) The Inner Circle:  This was Jesus' core group; Peter, James and John were the three that knew Him best and were closest to Him.  These men received His special assignments.  These were the friends Jesus took with Him when He went to raise the dead.  They saw His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration.  They saw His sorrow in the Garden of Gethsemane.  
5.) The Beloved:  Of all Jesus' disciples, only one could say he was the disciple "whom Jesus loved."  John was the only one we know who laid his head on Jesus' chest.  Jesus gave John the responsibility of caring for His aging mother. 

Again let me keep these statements in context to the subject of communication (not salvation or any other subject.)  As I travel I and speak in different churches, I have to be sure to know the audience.  Too often we treat the multitudes as if they are the twelve or the inner circle.
I know I too need to be mindful of who is reading my post on Facebook and encourage all of us as The Church to build one another up in love and remember some things may not need to be repeated, re-posted or re-tweeted because it may cause more harm than good.
In love and unity!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Growth Changes Everything

A young couple are expecting their first child.  Already in their seventh month they explain to a group of friends how excited they are that things have been going smoothly; regular check ups, eating healthy, plenty of rest.  They are ready.
One of their friends asks them what color did they paint the baby's room.  Another asks what bed did they get.  Another couple asked if they will be needing additional diapers and things since they were courious why there has been no baby shower, at least not one they were invited to.
The young couple looked at everyone and them each other as if to say, "what are you talking about?"

"We haven't done any of those things!" The husband exclaims.  Shocked the group of friends start shooting off a check list of questions:  "Have you baby-proofed your house?"  "Car seats?"  "Do you have a crib?"  "Are you going to nurse or use formula?" 
The questions just kept coming.  To every one's shock the young couple just looked at everyone and said, "We've been just so excited about the new growth to our family that we thought the baby would be fine just to be a part of who we are.  We had no idea we'd have to make so many changes for just one addition."

The above story is made up and crazy to say the least.  I don't know of anyone who has ever been expecting a baby to not do some things ahead of time to get ready for the new addition. 
As crazy as the above scene sounds, would you believe this is all too common outlook when it comes to church growth? 

There are three common types of thoughts when it comes to growing a church.  The first is called, "The Revivalist" style.  This method believes, "all we need is a good revival and the church will grow."  While that certainly is a good thought, unfortunately it's not only grossly unbiblical, it's just not true.  The second is called "The Programmatic" style. This thought process follows the belief, "if we can get the right programs and events and ministries in place then the church will grow."  Again, this is a good thought and when done does produce a level of growth; however if that's all that's done then growth will halt and level off quickly.
The third is called, "The Natural" style.  This group comes to the table with the same understanding as the previous two, which is, "God provides the growth, He is in charge" but before the "naturalist" start on any program or ministry they first ask the question, "what do we need to get rid of that is hindering us from growing?"
Now that is one painfully honest question to ask.  Because lets be honest, most things at the church are there because we like them.  We may have even been the ones to make them or invent them or even "birth" them.  But the truth is every level of growth your church or organization goes through will bring new changes.  Much like a family with five children will look, act, operate differently than a family with two children, why?
Growth changes everything.
Don't fall victim to getting so focused for new growth that you don't first answer the tough questions, how will be handle and take care of these new additions?  Are there systems in place to help outsiders become insiders?
Are there things in our church, even good things, that are unknowingly prohibiting us from growing?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

Several years ago I heard a message where the speaker was explaining vision like that of a windshield of a car.  He said, “you should always be looking ahead and not worry about the past; it’s like driving a car, you have a huge windshield in front of you and a small rear view mirror to glance at.”
While I certainly understood what he was saying, I’ll never forget thinking, “yeah but there are also two side mirrors.”
While driving home from another fruitful trip where I met with church leadership and discussed vision, I noticed those words I’ve seen a million times on the mirror, “objects in mirror are closer than they appear” and had a bit of revelation concerning vision on what I’ll call “the three mirrors” when it comes to looking ahead at the road in front of you.
Mirror one is called, “Others.”  When moving forward it’s important to keep others in mind.  There are some that need to be looked at with the understanding that they probably won’t make it with you the next leg of the journey and some that will need help getting to where you want to take them.  Others is a huge aspect to keep in mind because it’s been best said, “if you think you’re leading and look behind you to see others aren’t following then you’re just taking a walk.”  Be mindful to make sure others are following as well as what others are refusing to follow.
Mirror two is called, “You.”  Whenever I look in my rearview mirror to see what’s behind me I also catch a glimpse of myself.   I think it’s the unspoken truth we must continue to focus on and develop our character as we are leading others into the future of where God is directing.  I’ve see too many times leaders become not worth following because their integrity eroded over the course of time while trying to save the world.
Mirror three is called, “History.”   How my tenth grade history teacher would proclaim, “you need to know your history because it has a way of repeating itself!”  I certainly don’t believe a bad history means a bad future, no, God is bigger than that.  However, knowing the history of a group or organization will give understanding why some ideas are tough to get through to people and why others won’t buy in to your vision.  Knowing the history is very important, so ask questions.  Asking tough questions now will help avoid tough times later.

Hope this makes sense and you’re encouraged to continue to lead where you’re at!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How It Looks Is Not The Issue

When it comes to change, that's one area we all have a hard time coping with.  No matter how much we say we like change, the truth is, when change affects us then we don't like it.

King David wanted to build God a Temple.  God said David couldn't but would allow his son, Solomon, to do so.  So David made all the preparations and plans for the place where people would gather to worship God.

Years later, Solomon, constructs the Temple.  It was awesome to say the least, but it was different from previous ways "church" was done.

Up to that point, the only "church" they had experienced was the portable tent design given by God to Moses for the original tabernacle, however it was clear that Solomon's temple was approved by the Lord.  The Lord Himself had given David the new plans, and David passed these plans on to Solomon. (1 Chronicles 28:11-19)

How much more must we remember that it's not what the church does and doesn't look like; lots of lights, smoke, coffee, loud music, organ, candles, video projector or hymnals is not the issue.  The main question should always be, "Is God's presence there?"

Where His presence is, there is fullness of joy;* joy even with the changes.

*Psalms 16:11

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Momentum is that wonderful, mysterious and mystical thing that everyone wants on their side, yet doesn't really know how to produce or harness it.
We know it when we see it; we know when we've lost it, but how do you get it?
Allow me to submit to you what I call, "the law of momentum" it goes:

"Doing new things creates momentum but those things you did will never sustain momentum."

Whenever a group, church or business does new things it causes the wheels of momentum to start moving.  However there are other factors in place currently that either cause that momentum to slow or even stop.  They are: the leader, the system and the programs; and while we don't want to admit it, when momentum is slowing we must look at all the factors currently in place to see which one needs adjusting.

The most common to replace is the leader, because after all he or she is the most visible and easiest to "blame" when momentum is lost.  Sometimes yes, a new leaders is needed BUT while you can put a "new" leader in place and see an improvement happen; the real issue is reviled once the "newness" has worn off.  It's simple, if things go back to the way they were or the same problems surface even after new leader, after new leader, then it's not a leader problem it's a system problem.

The hardest to address is losing momentum because of a program issue.  Because we all become attached to "things" that we love or grew up on or created ourselves!
Remember what created momentum won't sustain it.  This is why the McRib shows up and then disappears often.  I believe the corporate world understands this much better than the church world.
We tend to tie a "bible verse and theology" to why we do everything we do in the church.  Don't crucify me.  We should have Biblical convictions for doing the work.  But know when you do that to every program and department you have just set up that program to become the very golden calf that one day you will have to tear down.
Simply doing the same thing over and over for many years is not the goal. It's not new.  In fact it's the very thing that is causing the loss of momentum.  It's why many times the wheel is spinning but all it's doing is creating a rut.

Knowing the difference between tweaking a current system and program or letting it die and creating something new is the start to understanding and creating momentum in your organization.

As we watch the events unfold in Egypt and it's leadership, part of me can't help to ask the question, "Do some of our churches have more in common with the Egypt situation than we are willing to admit?"

Go and do new things in your churches!  Be willing to change the programs, the systems and if need be the leader.  Move forward with message!  Create momentum!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Seven Specific Prayer Points for Egypt

Due to the current turmoil in Egypt out trip has been canceled and will be rescheduled once we see things have settled down.  Our missionary contact and good friend, Dr. Sameh Sadik, sent this message.  Please pray for him and these areas he outlines.  Thank you.

Tonight: Looting has been reduced tremendously, safety is being restored into Cairo and throughout the country. I would like to request pray for 7 specific Prayer points:
  1. The most urgent need for prayer is Food Supplies due to the curfew that is now 18 hours per day. As you have seen, the protesters defy the curfew but most of the people in the country, and especially the Farmers and Food distributors and manufacturers have not been able to transport the needed supplies for the population. Many foods are being rationed especially Bread. Pray that the Food supply will be sufficient for the needs of the people.
  2. Tomorrow the Police force will be reactivated & Pray that the Escaped Prisoners will be recaptured, thus reducing the amount of Criminals in the streets.
  3. Pray for a peaceful end of the demonstrations
  4. Pray Internet Communication can be restored
  5. Pray for Wisdom to those in authority to take decisions that would consider the well being of the people in Egypt over their own benefits.
  6. Pray for a Peaceful end of the demonstrations will expedite bringing normality
  7. Pray the Church to show the Hope of Jesus Christ throughout this Crisis.